Generation X — not millennials — is changing the nature of work



Generation X — not millennials — is changing the nature of work


Vanessa Richardson- October 2018

“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through very difficult problems.” – Gever Tulley.

Tumultuous, unstable, and unpredictable; these are adjectives dropped when describing the early lives of Gen X’ers while conducting an informal survey of several of my colleagues, and there is good reason.  This distinctive, yet often obscured generation has been directly affected by extreme economic slumps, perpetual wars, terminal sexually transmitted diseases and the highest rate of divorced parents the country had ever seen.  In fact, Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, described this group as being “starved for affection, terrified of abandonment, and the people who will live in a brand-new million-dollar home barely affording Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for dinner while charging on their credit cards”.  There was an underlying panic they would forever be stuck and hard-to-reach with a cynical approach to everything.  Conversely, all signs point to quite the opposite. 

This article, (link below), peaked our interest because it highlights a comprehensive study which supports the notion that despite being the generation also commonly deemed “The Latchkey Generation”, Gen X’ers have managed to survive, and even thrive in the face of relentless adversity.  It may be this sort of unyielding persistence that has provided and equipped them with the kind of adaptability needed to deal with the rapid uncertainties of life, to include raising children at an almost 245% increase of that which it took to raise them.

Generation X is by nature more skilled at acclimating to change and new challenges are often welcomed. They have developed more proficiency in areas generations before them never contemplated, making them the most psychologically adaptable people in the workforce today.  They tend to gravitate towards data and emphasize results all while valuing individualism and flexibility.  Yet they may go unnoticed by some employers and ought to be looked at little more thoroughly, specifically for leadership roles where their experiences lend to what the article refers to as “hyper-collaboration”.   After all, these are the qualities that our most steadfast leaders rely on for longevity within an organization.  It is this sort of work ethic which is most valuable, if not critical, to many organizations across all sectors. 

While the Pew Research referred to this generation as “the neglected ‘middle child’”, it is my experience that it is this child who will often rise to the occasion silently yet fiercely, providing invaluable experience and knowledge to any group with which they may team up with.

This link will get you to the original article from CNBC:–not-millennials–is-changing-the-nature-of-work.html

Integrated People Solutions is an executive placement firm in Denver, Colorado, and is part of the Kennedy Executive Network


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